The Bishop and OWU President Rock Jones celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new apartments for OWU seniors. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

The Excitement Builds

Ohio Wesleyan Breaks Ground for 126-Bed Senior Student Apartment Building

By Dmitri Ashakih ’22

The Ohio Wesleyan University community came together Oct. 3 to break ground for OWU’s first on-campus senior student apartments, part of the University’s $60-million Residential Renewal project.

“There is an excitement among students on campus, and we are looking forward to living in the senior apartments,” Sakshi Gupta ’22 of Mumbai, India, told those gathered for the groundbreaking celebration. “We are truly grateful.”

The apartments are expected to be finished and ready for students to move in January of 2021. (Rendering by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting)

The new apartment building will be constructed east of Bashford and Thomson halls. Expected to open during the 2020-2021 school year, it will house 126 students in four-, six-, and eight-bed units. Each apartment will feature a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, a spacious living room, and individual air-temperature controls.

In addition to the senior apartments, OWU’s Residential Renewal project also will involve renovating Smith Hall in two phases to create a community-orientated environment for first-year students. Smith West will be renovated this year, and Smith East will follow next year. The newly rebuilt interior will include double bedrooms, community bathrooms with private showers, shared common spaces, and amenities to encourage students to spend time out of their rooms.

“As a former resident of Smith West,” Gupta said, “I know firsthand how impactful the renovations will be to the residents of Smith.”

In addition to sharing her thoughts with the crowd, Gupta, who plans to major in astrophysics, also performed for those assembled as part of OWU’s all-female a capella group, Pitch Black.

Also singing the praises of the Residential Renewal project during the groundbreaking were President Rock Jones, Vice President for Student Engagement and Success Dwayne Todd, and co-chairs of OWU’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow fundraising campaign John Milligan ’83, Kathie Bradford Milligan ’83, and Kevin McGinty ’70.

The project is part of the seven-year fundraising campaign, which to date has raised more than $200 million.

“I think this reflects the deep commitment of Ohio Wesleyan University and our Board,” Jones said of the Residential Renewal project. “We want students to have the opportunity to live in places they are comfortable with and are ready to call home.”

The multi-phase Residential Renewal project also will include improvements to fraternities, adjacent themed houses, and Welch and Hayes halls.

“This is a time when we take control of our residential experience, rather than being controlled by conditions,” Todd said in welcoming the crowd for the apartment groundbreaking. “This will be a space for upper-level students to learn how to live as adults, for them to grow their friendships even further that will last their entire lives.”